My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Legends of Everfree , the long-titled fourth entry in the My Little Pony spin-off that has ranged from alright to *ahem* that is fricken' awesome! This time around, new magics begin affecting the girls when they go to the eponymous Camp Everfree. Given her dark history with it, the magic may make or break one of them.
Wait, Which Story Are We Watching?: Okay, so, I just told you what the main story is, but watching this movie, you’d barely be able to tell since there’s like eight of them happening at once in this 73-minute film. We’ve got the protagonists going to camp, we’ve got the magic, we’ve got mysteries to solve, we’ve got some seemingly-significant running gag to follow… The story’s stretched thin. We’re supposed to be watching Tara Strong’s Twilight Sparkle (if you make a vampire joke, I will stake you), who is terrified of her own magic-hungry dark side. We’re watching as she contends with her fear now that this new magic force is here. But, we’re also watching seven other things going on, remembering what they are, how they’re important and spending time watching them happen. Not only is this drawing our attention away from the flow of the main story (thus ruining its build-up) but it’s using up time that could have been spent making the main story even better. We could have spent time exploring Twilight’s fears and becoming more afraid for her, seeing how legitimate her fears might be, and all the while feeling a sympathy for her that could lead to a greater payoff in the end. Instead, we just get serviceable emphasis for a serviceable story and a bunch of others, rather than one awesome one. Still, though, serviceable is better than failure. The story has legitimate emotion and pay-off, with characters we have long-since been invested in and continue to like in this story. It could just stand to be a lot better.
Music to My Ears… Sometimes: The music of this movie basically reflects its overall quality, ranging from incredibly catchy, to needless and off-tone. Each song does its job, that of creating the right mood and summarizing the facts in a fun way, montage-style. It’s just that, while a couple does this competently and leave us pumped-up or well-informed, another couple really have no reason to even exist and just serve to state the obvious. This is a problem similar to interrupting the flow of a story since it leaves us wondering why the song was sung, rather than just letting us enjoy it. Aside from their significance (or lack thereof) to the plot, the songs also range in value on their own merits, having catchy melodies and great vocalists, or just being bland. You’ll just wind up with one or two on your iPod, let’s put it that way.
Smile with Me, Cringe with Me: This movie carries plenty of enjoyability even beyond the story and music, having some moments funny and awesome, but also moments of cringe and a lack of spectacle. In addition to having its own humor, anyone who’s been with this story since the start (which is kind of a necessity) will see a number of jokes and concepts that just make the average Brony (fan) oh-so-happy. Countering that, though, is a lack of creative animation (criminal for MLP) and the constant presence of stilted and contrived - I repeat: stilted and contrived - dialogue, constantly needing to spell out continuity and gab on in a way that human beings do not speak.